A by-election can have some meanings

Some of the most thoughtful political writing these days is coming from — Peter Dunne. Dunne, who leads, and is, United Future in Parliament, has been sounding more like he did in 1994, when debating breaking with Labour. He then … Continue reading

A small country on the planet of the apps

Colin James to Golden Bay University of the Third Age and public meeting in Takaka, 20 March 2015 It’s 2015 and you have a health issue: the doctor will see you now. Imagine it’s 2020: the robot will see you … Continue reading

Labour: will 2015 mark “the end of the beginning”?

Last week the Reserve Bank stayed stoutly within its orthodoxy. The Labour party’s challenge is to make a new orthodoxy from its old principles. Both have found mid-2010s realities don’t fit pre-2008 conventions. The bank talked of its difficulty in … Continue reading

Falling prices used to be a good thing

On Thursday Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler will pronounce on the economy’s track and where interest rates should or might go and when. He is likely not to cut the official cash rate (OCR) but the slope of any future … Continue reading

Statecraft and sending troops to Iraq

Let’s be clear: constitutionally, the Executive decides where and how troops are deployed. John Key did not need Parliament’s approval to go to war. And let’s be clear: Key is going to war. Iraq is at war. Training its troops … Continue reading

Whingeing Aussies and their beer belly

Once we put up with whingeing Poms. Now it’s whingeing Aussies. They are far richer than us, so what’s the beef? And why should we bother? The problem is China — or, rather, China plus Australians’ punchy self-importance. In security … Continue reading

Is the public service serving the public?

On Thursday Bill English will give his annual pep-talk to the Institute of Public Administration. It comes as we are reminded that the then Ministry of Economic Development in 2011 bent tendering rules to obey John Key’s wish for a … Continue reading

Time for cricket — and a wider focus on India

The cricket world cup starts this weekend: ducks, bouncers, googlies, silly mid-ons, slips, Australian sledging — and match-fixing? There’s money to be made. Stacks. Underneath the razz there is still a faint echo of “willow on leather” — endeavour, not … Continue reading

What if there had been no Treaty of Waitangi?

Some historians test their analysis by asking what if some event hadn’t happened or an alternative course had been taken at a fork. So: what if there had been no Treaty of Waitangi? One easy answer is that we wouldn’t … Continue reading

The environment is changing — even for Greens

On Sunday the Greens will mull adjustments to their political clothing. They may need more than a nip or a tuck or slight change of shade. Technology is changing the Greens’ environment. Greens used confidently to claim the future. Only … Continue reading